Keep it simple, stupid, and don't be afraid to disrupt

Keep it simple, stupid, and don't be afraid to disrupt

It's not easy to get passionate about HR software, Sonar6 chief executive Mike Carden freely admits.

But with a billion potential customers, even at $20 each? That's a $20 billion market. And it's easy to be passionate about a number like that.

As he told the Employers and Manufacturers Association conference Thrive International yesterday, Sonar6 has built a brand on not taking itself too seriously.

"Be likeable," he says. Sonar6 strives to put a human face to itself, and boasts nearly 23,000 Facebook fans – yes, all for a company that makes performance review software.

People have short attention spans, according to Carden, so don't complicate things – keep the message straightforward.

"All markets are full of noise," he says.

"Make it easy to explain what you do."

Sonar6's slogan? "Performance reviews that don't suck."

As the company found out a couple of years ago, the big players don't tend to take very kindly to upstarts from the other side of the world who turn up to US trade shows and set up a giant cardboard box in place of a booth with all the riggings.

But even though Sonar6 didn't spend thousands on the setup – not that it had the budget anyway – it still generated miles more publicity than any of their competitors. 

After all, says Carden, you've got to disrupt to be disruptive.

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